15 Jun Fatal Falls are on the Rise Among Seniors
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among the elderly according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC (cdc.gov) reports that the rate of death from falls for seniors 65 years old and older increased 31 percent from 2007 to 2016. Accidents are the fourth leading cause of death for all ages, with falls being the most common type of accidental injury. Fatal falls are ranked just behind the top three leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory infections.
Every 19 minutes, a senior citizen in the US dies from fall-related injuries.
The report states that one in four seniors have a serious fall each year, which has led to nearly 3 million emergency department visits. Of these falls, 20 percent result in broken bones, traumatic brain injury or other serious problems. Every 19 minutes a senior citizen in the United States dies from injuries that were caused by a fall. The CDC believes the rate of falls will continue to rise as the elderly population grows. The report urges health care providers to be aware of the increasing deaths from falls by older Americans, and to develop a plan of action to prevent them.
As part of a regular visit, the CDC recommends that health care providers assess fall risk and educate their patients about the reasons for falls. The CDC has developed training, tool kits and resources (https://www.cdc.gov/steadi) for health care providers to help prevent falls and help their patients stay healthy, active and independent longer. The STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries) toolkit gives health care providers basic information about falls, case studies, conversation starters and standardized gait and balance assessment tests to help prevent falls among their patients.
One in four seniors have a serious fall each year.
The fatalities for Americans 65 and older increased significantly in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Some states held steady, but no states experienced a decline in the number of fatal falls, according to the CDC Mortality and Morbidity report. In 2016, there were a higher rate of fatal falls for men than women due to such circumstances as falls from a ladder or while drinking. There were higher rates of falls in the oldest age groups due to risks factors such as reduced activity, or chronic health conditions, including arthritis, neurological disease and incontinence. The report also cited the increased use of prescription medications that may affect the central nervous system, and age-related changes in gait and balance as a cause for increased falls among the older elderly population.
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